JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – All the miners who were trapped underground for more than 24 hours after a storm knocked out powerlines supplying electricity to the Beatrix gold mine in South Africa have been rescued, operator Sibanye-Stillwater said on Friday.
In a painstaking rescue mission, the exhausted miners were hoisted up one by one after temporary power pylons were installed. None sustained major injuries.
Although the company had said the more than 1,000 mineworkers stuck underground were never in danger, the incident highlights safety concerns in an industry that is home to the world’s deepest mines, with workers at some sites operating at depths of up to 4 km.
“Everyone is fine, there were minor injuries and a bit of dehydration but that’s all,” company spokesman James Wellsted said.
Some workers were rescued on Thursday after emergency power supply from backup generators, but damage to the winder control systems and generators at one of the Beatrix shafts caused by a power surge forced 955 employees to remain underground.